Shortage of Military Personnel Sparks Controversy: Women vs. Senior Citizens
Shortage of Military Personnel Sparks Debate
Women’s Conscription vs. Re-enlistment of Middle-Aged Men
Heated Discussions Continous Online
In response to the decline in military resources due to the population cliff, the Military Manpower Administration is exploring all kinds of solutions, including revising the standards for active duty. In this context, a political pledge to conscript women has emerged, and in response, academia has suggested solving the problem with a “Senior Army” of men aged 55 to 75.
Lee Jun Seok, the leader of the Reform New Party, announced a general election pledge on the 29th of last month, stating, “Women should also serve in the military to be eligible to apply for public service positions such as police and fire departments since 2030.”
Two days later, Choi Young Jin, a professor of Political and International Relations at Chung-Ang University, criticized this promise in an article for Hankyoreh, stating, “In a country that should focus on increasing birth rate, this policy doesn’t make sense.” suggested the creation of a “Senior Army.”
Professor Choi explained, “There are currently about 6.91 million men aged 55 to 75, and many have competent physical and mental strength. If only 1% of the volunteers are in 6.91 million, the government can secure about 70,000 reserve forces. Furthermore, considering paying the same salary as current soldiers would lead to the expectation of mobilizing 200,000 to 300,000 people.”
The “Senior Army” organization was established last year and is known to conduct enlistment training voluntarily.
Since then, online communities have been engaged in the pros and cons of the Senior Army and women’s conscription.
Those opposed to the Senior Army or in favor of women’s conscription showed reactions as, “Won’t this eventually turn into forced mobilization?” “Can we handle the increase in non-combat losses? The unit will become a hospital”, “Shouldn’t women without childbirth plans must fulfill military duties for gender equality?”, “If this continues, women will ultimately become second-class citizens who only burden on the society.”
On the other hand, opponents claimed likewise: “Since many elderly people are picking up waste, this is a good policy to solve elderly poverty and unemployment if the military provides them food and lodging.” “Women have the potential to have a child in any case.”